Reinforcements Have Arrived

Jeremey shows off his Wars of the Roses army now that it’s complete (well almost).

On the 17th February 2020 I put up a blog post about the first Wars of the Roses units I had managed to paint up. This was the start of my very first historical army. Fellow club member Stephen was also painting up his own Wars of the Roses with the idea of fighting the various battles thoughout the year.

We managed one battle before lockdown scuppered getting down to the club.

First battle to test our Wars of the Roses armies

So I packed up the army for the following months and turned to other ptojects. But I kept drifting back to the army and found myself making terrain. Given the first Battle of St Albans was essentially a town battle I started making tudor houses.

Still a lot of work to do on these buildings. More plasterwork and thatched roofs

But Stephen started to post a few solo battles using his army and mentioned adding a few additional units, so I caved and ordered some more for my army. using the Sword and Spear army lists I went for a few of the support units. Welsh Longbows, Welsh Spearmen, General Spearmen and Mercenary Crossbows.

Welsh Longbows and Spearmen on the Painting Table

I painted these using the same method as my existing units. Stephen had painted his units in uniform colours but I wanted a much bigger variety. Although armies of this time were starting to wear their lords Livery, but I didn’t want to tie my units down to any particular faction.

I picked out a range of colours (various, browns, greens and the odd khaki shade) and painted different parts of each miniature so that no two miniatures were the same. This was potentially more time consuming but I still went through the miniatures like a production line.

Another new aspect for this army was to make the flags changable, in order to allow my army to represent any side in the conflict, or for when several lords bring forces to the battlefield.

Changable Flags for my Units

I simpy glued the flags together and left a loop to fit over the flag poles on the units.

And so finally I got to a point where I had a large enough army for a real epic battle.

The whole army with a multitude of flags
The Left Flank of the Army
The Right Flank of the Army

War of the Roses Battle – Neville Takes the Field

Sir Thomas Neville deep in the action

With both of our Wars of the Roses armies completed Stephen and I assembled on an unremarkable field somewhere in England for our first clash. Stephen took the role of the Lancastrians and recruited Andy to act as a lesser lord of the realm in control of his right flank. I’d gone for the Yorkists and ended up with the flags of the Earl of Salisbury and his son Sir Thomas Neville. In similar fashion I recruited Tony to the role of Thomas Neville also taking command of the right flank.

The Lancastrian Billmen and Men at Arms

The Lancastrian army formed up in a neat row extending across the battlefield with their archers on the flanks and their billmen and men at arms in the centre. The Lancastrians had no cavalry or artillery, however they had more archers and had brought some mercenary pikemen.

The Yorkist Army Advances

Across the field the Yorkists took a different approach forming up with their archers and artillery out front with the billmen and men at arms close behind. The Yorkists also had mounted men at arms as well as some light cavalry units positioned out on the flanks.

Lancastrian Archers take the High Ground

The first move of the battle saw Andy move his archers to a commanding position on the only high ground available.

The Yorkists Cavalry Moves to Outflank the Lancastrians

This move prompted me to move my cavalry out past the archers flank screened by a nearby wood. My intention was not to attack the flank but to try and get Andy to weaken his archers on the hill by dispatching them to deal with the now threatened flank.

Yorkists Under Thomas Neville Attempt to Maneuver in to Position

Meanwhile on the Yorkist right Tony had found himself squashed between my artillery unit and some woods. This would cause a number of problems for Tony during the battle as he was unable to line up his units to best effect.

Lancastrian Archers Move to Outflank

Seeing the difficulty the Yorkist right flank was in Steve moved his archers in range to pour missiles into the floundering Yorkists.

The Yorkist Artillery Starts to Bombard the Lancastrian Billmen

Apart from Steve’s flaking move and Andy moving his archers onto the hill, the Lancastrians refused to give battle. Seeing the danger on the flank and with the Cavalry feint having drawn some of Andy’s archers away, I push the artillery forward and began firing on the Lancastrian Billmen. The attack did not cause any damage but it had the desired effect, soon the Lancastrian billmen would be on the advance.

Yorkist Archers Gain the Upper Hand

Seeing the Lancastrian billmen on the advance I pushed my archers forward and engaged the archers on the hill. The dice definitely favoured the Yorkists destroying a unit of archers outright but taking some damage in return.

Battle Rages on the Yorkist Right Flank

As I prepared to receive the advancing billmen, Tony had managed to engage Steve’s archers on the Yorkist right flank. Unfortunately the Lancastrian archers stood their ground against attacks from the Yorkist billmen.

The Centre Units Close in for an Intense Fight

My archers managed to get a volley off against the Lancastrian’s before the two battle lines crashed together. Unable to move the archers had to join the melee and soon succumbed to the billmen, but I had billmen in reserve ready to fill the gap.

The Battle Lines Clash

The clash was pretty even with both sides taking hits. Out on the Yorkist right flank Tony’s archers had taken a beating but he was still determined to get his billmen into the fight. In the centre Steve still had his men-at-arms directly in front of my artillery and so had no choice than to advance into the oncoming fire.

The Lancastrian Men-at-Arms Charges the Yorkist Artillery

Although the Men-at-Arms had taken some damage they quickly overwhelmed the artillery leaving them to rampage behind the Yorkist line. Tony still had his cavalry in reserve but didn’t get the activation dice required to charge in and so the Men-at-Arms got the chance to destroy them in a subsequent charge. However Tony was more successful with his Mounted Men-at-Arms.

The Yorkist Mounted Men-at-Arms Destroy the Lancastrian Archers

Charging in against the Lancastrian archers Tony was successful in gaining some momentum on the right flank. But the Yorkists would then throw away a strong position with a number of cavalry blunders. First came my charge with my light cavalry against the archers I had drawn out on Andy’s flank. The charge saw the cavalry wiped out with no damage to the defending archers. Tony then charged his Mounted Men-at-Arms against the Lancastrian pikemen and suffered the same fate!

Return of the Yorkist Mounted Men-at-Arms from the Left Flank

With the main battle in the centre going the Yorkists way and following the cavalry blunders, I turned my Mounted Men-at-Arms around and galloped back to the centre. The battle was nearing an end with both armies at breaking point.

The Yorkist Right Flank was to Decide the Battle

With the help of my cavalry the Lancastrian centre was destroyed, and with Andy’s remaining units too far away on the Lancastrian right flank, it was up to Tony on the Yorkist right flank to carry the day. The Lancastrian’s still had some strong infantry units but Steve had failed to get the activations he needed to get them into the fight. Needing just a point before breaking completely the battle came down to the long drawn out melee between Steve’s archers and Tony’s billmen.

The Last Melee Between the Yorkists and Lancastrians

But the dice finally favoured Tony and the archers were utterly destroyed, handing victory to the Yorkists by the narrow margin of 29-32!

Battle Aftermath
This turned out to be a really good battle. Three of the players had only played 3 or 4 games of Sword and Spear before and for Tony this was his first ever play of the rules.
From the Yorkist point of view, the good parts were managing to draw out some of the Lancastrian forces with a cavalry feint, and a lucky result in winning the archery duel in the centre. Having the artillery also turned out to be a good move as it forced the Lancastrians to advance when they had planned to sit tight. The bad points for the Yorkists though were the poor deployment between the artillery and the woods allowing the Lancastrians to out flank the right hand side, and the poorly executed cavalry charges late in the battle.

From the Lancastrians point of view, the good parts were exploiting the poor enemy deployment and out flanking with archers. But the bad points were reacting to the feint and being unlucky with the activation dice later in the battle preventing them from getting more of their infantry committed against the poorly deployed Yorkists.

The war will no doubt continue with the Lancastrians out for revenge!